by Masara Kim, Jos
At least five people were killed in Plateau State on 5 February in attacks on two Christian villages in the Bokkos Local Government Area. The attacks are the latest in a series of invasions which have displaced thousands of farmers in the potato growing capital of Nigeria.
Close to 30 people were killed in attacks on three villages in Bokkos last November. Many residents displaced by the November invasions had yet to return home when the latest attacks occurred.
Witnesses say the invaders spoke the Fulani dialect and chanted “Allahu Akhbar” (God is great) as they opened fire on unarmed civilians in Mabel and Maiyanga villages.
“Two people were killed in Mabel and three in Maiyanga villages,” said a youth leader in Bokkos, Sule Marshall, in a telephone interview. “Both attacks occurred between 7.30 pm and 7.40 pm.”
“In Mabel, three people were killed when they went to check their farm as there had been reports of farmland destruction by Fulani herdsmen in the preceding weeks. On their way back, they were ambushed and two of them were killed instantly. One of them escaped with injuries,” Marshall said.
Teenagers armed with assault rifles
“The attack in Maiyanga saw three armed men invading the village on motorcycles and opening fire at residents. Three people were instantly killed while three others sustained various degrees of injuries,” he added.
A former special assistant to Governor Simon Lalong, Alfred Makut, who hails from the village, wrote in a WhatsApp text message that the attackers were youths armed with assault rifles.
“Teenage Fulani [militants] came riding on a bike and shooting sporadically,” he wrote.
Among those killed was a retired police officer who led civilian volunteer guards in the village, Makut wrote.
Officials had yet to confirm the attack at the time of publishing this report.